Bird's Eye View of the City of Champaign Looking from the South East. Champaign County, Illinois, 1869


This panoramic map shows Champaign, Illinois, as it appeared in 1869. The view, looking from the southeast, shows an area that is a hub of rail activity, with tracks running on the outskirts of and through the city. Multiple trains traverse the intersecting lines, which are labeled: Illinois Central Railroad, Champaign & Monticello Railroad, and Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad. The index at the bottom of the map indicates various points of interest, including several schools, Baptist, Congregational, Presbyterian, “Christian,” Catholic, and two Methodist churches, the city park, the gas works, and two railroad depots. Two inset images at the bottom of the map show greater detail of two buildings: the public school and Illinois State Industrial University. The panoramic map was a cartographic form popularly used to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also known as bird's-eye views or perspective maps, these maps are representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. Not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective. This map is by Albert Ruger (1829–99), the first American to achieve success as a panoramic artist. Born in Prussia, Ruger immigrated to the United States and worked initially as a mason. While serving with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War, he drew views of Union campsites. After the war, Ruger settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he began his panoramic mapping career by sketching Michigan cities. In the late 1860s, Ruger formed a partnership with J.J. Stoner of Madison, Wisconsin, and together they published numerous city panoramas.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Chicago Lithographing Company, Chicago


Title in Original Language

Bird's eye view of the city of Champaign, Champaign County, Illinois 1869

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 52 x 68 centimeters

Last updated: March 30, 2016